What are possible adverse effects of Tylenol?
Tylenol has few side effects, and reacts with
very few medications (you should avoid combining Tylenol with NSAID
analgetics like sulindac, or with amphetamines, methylphenidate,
benzodiazapines and barbiturates). In recommended doses it is generally
considered to be a 'safe' medication, though with some reservations.
Rare side effects can include: constipation, skin rashes,
dizziness, sedation, shortness of breath, hypersensitivity reaction,
fainting, nausea and/or vomiting, confusion, loss of short-term memory,
drowsiness, changes in blood, allergic reactions, euphoria, dysphoria,
abdominal pain, itching, easy bruising and bleeding gums.
Due to the fact that Tylenol is a compound product, possible
side effects may be accounted for by the effects of its constituents -
acetaminophen (paracetamol) and codeine.
In large doses acetaminophen can be toxic to the liver.
Normally, maximum dose of acetaminophen is 30mg/lb or 4 grams a day for
healthy adult patients. However, when one is suffering from liver
diseases or taking other drugs metabolized by the liver, the dose of
acetaminophen should be greatly lowered. You should remember that some
other medications can contain acetaminophen, too. Patients should be
aware of the risk of overdosing acetaminophen when combining such
medications with Tylenol. Consuming more than 4 grams of acetaminophen
a day can cause liver damage, jaundice, and even liver failure, if the
drug is being taken in narcotic effect seeking dosages for an extended
period of time. Acetaminophen should not be used for over two weeks
without seeking medical advice.
In some cases, acetaminophen liver toxicity makes its overdose
fatal. Symptoms of overdose are often not experienced during first
24-48 hours. When the patient begins to feel nausea and/or severe
abdominal pain in the region of the liver, it may be too late to seek
Acetaminophen is especially dangerous when combined with
Acetaminophen can cause kidney failure in vulnerable persons.
These include alcoholics, elderly people, and persons with pre-existing
liver or kidney damage.
Unlike aspirin, Tylenol is safe in children as acetaminophen
is not associated with a risk of Reye's syndrome in children with viral
illnesses. Also, when taken in recommended doses, Tylenol does not
irritate the stomach (one of the side effects common with aspirin) -
another feature that makes it a popular medicine.
Acetaminophen has not been found to alter mood, causing
euphoria, etc. It has a very low addiction potential and almost no risk
On the other hand, the second active ingredient in Tylenol -
codeine - has a larger potential for abuse and dependence, although it
does not damage the liver. Codeine is an opioid, possessing a
well-marked analgetic effect. The content of codeine in Tylenol
increases according to the number of the marketed brand, being
especilly high in Tylenol 4. High doses of codeine taken during a
prolonged period of time should be avoided in order to prevent the risk
of developing dependence in the patients. The other unwanted side
effect of taking codeine is reported in breast-feeding mothers whose
rates of metabolism of codeine to morphine are particularly fast. This
genetically caused peculiarity results in higher levels of morphine
being passed through breast milk, which may cause fatal respiratory
depression of a breasted baby.
All these adverse effects can be well excluded when Tylenol is not overdosed, and one keeps track of all the medications combined with Tylenol.